January 15, 2017


 Our trip to Ecuador was a bit of a bust for toucans, yielding only a single photo of an unidentified bird, so it was a huge relief for us to see toucans nearly every day of our visit to Costa Rica. The keel-billed toucan you see below posed very nicely for us completely out of tree cover on one of our first walks and set the expectations for use nicely.
With two coasts separated by lofty mountains, Costa Rica frequently begets variant species found only on the Pacific or Caribbean (get used to this concept, there's lots of variants in the posts to come - Costa Rica is a checklist paradise) such as this chestnut-mandibled toucan from the Pacific side.
 Rounding out our set, my "favorite bird I never knew existed until I saw it" was the aracari. This toucan-relative (also with 2 coastal variants) really stole the show for me when a group of 7 or so collared aracari collected on a feeder at the lodge "La Quinta de Sarapiqui." Their striking plumage and gregarious nature really won me over and put them near the top of my list for neat animal sightings on the trip.
 Our guide Mario commented several times that he felt he had done a good job when people were calm about seeing something by the end of the tour that had really excited them at the start. While we NEVER got bored of toucans, we did gradually spend more time enjoying them and less time panicking about getting the perfect picture.

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